Fire science professionals in South Carolina are responsible for protecting residents, land, and property. The state is home to 455 fire stations employing many trained firefighters, fire investigators, and emergency responders. Students wishing to work one of these positions for the fire department can start their careers by earning a certificate or degree designed to prepare them for a variety of positions in the profession, depending on their interests and goals.

Yearly earnings for firefighters in South Carolina differ depending on experience, education, and location, to name a few. The chart below provides a quick overview of average annual wages for firefighters, fire inspectors and investigators, and fire service supervisors in the state at the entry, median, and advanced levels.

South Carolina Fire Service Careers 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Firefighters $20,010 $31,270 $47,140
Fire Inspectors and Investigators $24,650 $35,570 $56,440
Fire Service Supervisors $22,010 $37,380 $58,560


While attending college is not a necessity to becoming an entry-level firefighter, many today are seeking formal education for better work opportunities and promotions in this competitive field. Students can begin their education by earning basic certificates, such as EMT or CPR certification. These come in handy for firefighters on the job because certification (and the skills that come with it) allow them to provide first-response services in emergency situations.

Aspirants wishing to get a general feel for the firefighting industry will benefit greatly starting with an associate degree. At this level, students will learn basic topics such as history of fire science, fire chemistry, and firefighting tactics and techniques. The associate degree also prepares students well for the bachelor’s degree if they decide to continue their education. Firefighters will do well with an associate degree, but those who wish to move into leadership positions in the future will benefit from earning a bachelor’s degree. At this level, students will have the opportunity to pick a specialization, such as public service, fire technology, and administration, to name a few.

Education is critical for any profession, but so are skills. With this in mind, students need hands-on training before beginning any type of firefighting work. They can obtain this work experience by volunteering or interning at their local fire department and working with professionals that will show them the ins and outs on the job. Students get to apply their knowledge from school into work and have the opportunity to ask questions and “shadow” working professionals.


Students in South Carolina can earn their fire science degrees at the following colleges:


Distance learning programs give students the opportunity to learn fire science from virtually anywhere with reliable Internet. South Carolina students can choose from a plethora of institutions that offer online programs with typical fire science coursework offered in a traditional classroom setting. They can even be campuses from out-of-state accepting South Carolina applicants!

How does online learning work? Simply put, students take their classes online, submit their assignments via e-mail or an online learning platform, and participate in class discussions through a discussion board, via chat programs, or through Skype.

Online learning is great for those who prefer to work on their own schedule and in their own space. However, due to the physical nature of fire science, students may be required to visit a facility occasionally to complete projects in-person. These tasks are designed to provide students the opportunity to get the hands-on experience required on the job.